I should have known there would be repercussions to the weaning.
Several times after his nap he would wake up distraught, wanting, wanting and I’d go in and take him in my arms and he’d say, “mommy, mommy milk,” and “I want to go in mommy’s bed,” and so I’d carry him into my bed and lie down with him and wrap my arms around him and he’d grab my breasts and say, “mommy milk,” and I’d say, “there’s no mommy milk anymore, sweetheart, I’m sorry, but you can have Aidan milk,” and “mommy loves you so much,” and “you can have as much mommy love and as many mommy kisses as you want” and “I love you so much, my baby, I love you so much.” And he would just cry and cry and cry and cry until he was exhausted.
Sometimes he’d lie down next to me afterward staring off into space, at the blinds, at the wall, so thoughtfully, wet lashes surrounding his big, sad eyes and I’d wonder what was going on in that beautiful head. Are there complicated thoughts about how much he wants mommy milk, what it means that it isn’t there anymore, if his mommy still loves him as much as before? Is he capable of those thoughts? I don’t know, but I want to take that sadness away. I want to so badly.
The calm lasts a moment and then he turns toward me, touches my breasts, cries again, loudly, angrily, full of frustration and rage. I wrestle him, try to hold him, but he doesn’t want me, he wants my milk, he pushes me away, he hits me, his little face scrunched up like a wad of dough and I want again to take his pain away. And finally he quiets again, lays himself down, curled up next to me and he sleeps.
This has happened several times, three, four, and then it stopped. Sometimes it was different: rough grabbing for my chest, my breasts, over the bars of his crib. “I want mommy milk! I want it! No Aidan milk! I want mommy milk! I want it!” And I grab his hand, hold it in mine, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, there is no mommy milk anymore,” wondering if I’ve done something wrong, if this ache that he’s feeling is normal, if it’s right for me to impose such sadness and loss upon my little son. Will he be wounded by this?
But then it passes.
And only yesterday he said to my parents on my computer screen, “Mommy milk!” Then giggled and threw himself into my lap and with his head facing downward, bobbing between my thigh and the floor, announced, “Mommy milk is all gone! Mommy milk is all gone!” And a laugh instead of tears, and that’s that. It was over. Or so I thought. And as much as I wanted it to end, I felt sad and empty.
And then today, after his nap, the tears again, worse than ever, the hysteria more acute than it’s been, grabbing at my chest, trying to pull my breast out of my shirt, forcing his mouth on me as I struggle to hold him in my arms and he pushes my face away, saying, “I don’t want mommy! I want mommy milk! I want mommy milk!” Wailing, tears streaming down pale cheeks. A sadness and desperation I can’t stand, because they are my fault.
And I wonder if his tears at school, his fear of my leaving, his neediness and inability to connect with the other kids, if that is connected to his desire for my milk, and when his teacher tells me he spends so much time alone looking sad, I feel guilty, wondering if I did something wrong and wondering if we should have another child, wondering if he is lonely and sad because he has no brother and sister, and I hate the words brother and sister, they personally offend me and they are everywhere and I cannot stand to hear them because he was supposed to have a sister and I just want my son to be happy. I can’t stand the thought of him unhappy and I love him so much, I would do anything for him, even if it means sacrificing myself.
Today I finally, desperate and heartbroken, said, “Do you want some ice cream?” and he snapped immediately and completely out of it. The frenzy ended and he asked me if we had orange ice cream, as he scrambled off the bed and toward the door. No, no orange ice cream, I told him. We have vanilla and chocolate mint. And he made his way down the stairs in a state that was some delicate blend of stunned and buzzing with excitement, as I trembled with the experience, wondering what I’m going to do to make this okay.